Outbound calls in the contact centre are in decline, with a drop to 22% from 33.7% in the last decade, according to an industry report from ContactBabel. This may come as no surprise considering only 1% of cold calls are successful.
However, outbound dialling still has a key role to play in the contact centre, from making new business calls, sales calls to existing customers, proactive customer service, debt collection, appointment setting or customer satisfaction surveys and market research. The trick is finding a way to turn your cold calls into outbound campaigns that offer a rewarding experience to your customers and your agents.
This blog explores the five tips that are simple, yet important to get right, in order to ensure that your contact centre is running efficiently…
Tip 1: Choose the right technology
The first step is to identify and acquire the right technology that will satisfy all of your outbound requirements and generate maximum efficiencies in your contact centre. Once you launch your initial campaign, you will use the system-generated results to analyse and refine your dialling strategy to optimise campaign performance and maximise your ROI. A good dialler system will make it easy for you to identify where you are successful and where you need to focus. In fact, some diallers will even go a step further and report directly to you what you need to change in order to increase your contact rates and sales.
Tip 2: Establish the right KPIs
The key performance indicators (KPIs) you use within your business and how you assess performance against them is crucial. Before you undertake any form of outbound campaign, be sure to clearly determine your KPIs. These shouldn’t necessarily be about the number of dials, what matters are the figures you add to the top line; converting leads into sales, booking appointments, collecting debt, and increasing your profits. An optimised process for outbound will add valuable time to the agent’s availability to the system for further calls. Conversely, this also means cutting your losses to be sure that your agents know when to close a call and move on.
Tip 3: Use scripting to increase customer satisfaction
Scripting can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your outbound campaigns. A dynamic call script can help to deliver consistent, confident and compliant communications with your customers. Small ‘on-the-fly’ adjustments can have a big impact on results. A good system will have the ability to quickly make changes based on customer behaviour. Rather than have agents clicking through different screens and business systems (and getting distracted), ensure all of the necessary and relevant information is together in one place.
Tip 4: Communicate and prepare staff for changes
Remember, by replacing your current technology, you are changing the processes that your agents have learned and are used to, and are typically helping them work at a much quicker pace. But these changes, although embraced by the business, are not always welcomed by agents. Therefore, communication is a critical factor – make sure your agents know that the new technology is there to help them.
Tip 5: Minimise staff churn and improve agent satisfaction
In a typical contact centre, the recruitment, training and support costs can be significant – reducing staff turnover will always have a direct impact on the bottom line. Listen to your staff. Set up forums where their input, ideas and feedback are all recorded and acted upon accordingly. This increase in staff engagement will not only improve retention rates (saving both time and money), but it also improves customer retention rates as they’re getting a better and more consistent service.
Following these five tips will help you achieve a consistent high-level service that your customers expect and bring you closer to operating an effective and efficient contact centre.
Click here to find out more about how outbound strategies can work for you.
By Sarah Stacey, Director of Channel Development, West